During the last few centuries, Knowle Green and surrounding rural communities have been a hive of activity and industry, virtually every building was engaged in the production of crops, food, textiles, bobbins or hand tools.
Today, it is a collection of a few farms and many home conversions for people who probably work in the nearby towns and cities. It is a delightful corner of Lancashire.
Our walk is an interesting excursion along the old paths connecting Ribchester, Knowle Green, Dutton and Stydd, we explore an 18th and 19th C landscape littered with farms, hand-loom weavers cottages and early waterwheel powered mills. These energetic communities turned to the textile industry to supplement farming, virtually every property was used as a small production unit prior to the powered looms in large mills of Burnley, Blackburn and Preston where production was centralised.
Today, the same properties (there aren’t many new-builds in this area) have been lovingly converted or restored into dwellings.
From Ribchester, we meet Cowley Brook, a small fell-side stream that provided power to several mills and cotton factories along its short course. We follow Cowley Brook through Knowle Green before turning East, then South over Duddel Hill returning to Stydd, then Ribchester. Along the way, look out for Cage Mill, the site of Lum Mill, the old smithy and ruins of Knowle Green Bobbin Mill, Lower Mill, Higher Mill and Moor Hey Mill as well as the hand-loom weavers cottages at Dilworth Bottom and New Row.
Criss-crossing this landscape are many paths (Rights of Way) linking farms, mills and weaver’s cottages, these paths were the communication network of yesteryear, vital for a vibrant community to go about its work transporting raw materials, finished goods and produce.
Our walk gives a fascinating insight into our past, it presents us with an opportunity to remember a lifestyle that clearly moved at a much slower pace than today, yet was most productive in its output and probably very rewarding in its process.